Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

For the Record...

April 2008 Obituaries

James Edward Westerman, Sr.
RONAN - James Edward Westerman, Jr. died at his home at North Crow Road near Ronan after a lengthy battle with rheumatoid arthritis on April 28, 2008.

Jim was born on September 18, 1933 to Edith and Earl Westerman in Pablo. He was the fifth child and the second son.

He attended schools in Pablo, Ronan and Polson.

He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean conflict and received an honorable discharge as a 3rd Class Petty Officer with a Good Conduct Medal, China Service Ribbon, Nations Defense Ribbon and the Presidential Unit Citation.

He came home and married Rose M. Phillips on March 5, 1958; they marked their 50th wedding anniversary this year.

Jim worked for the Northern Pacific/Burlington Northern railroad from 1956-1983. He retired and started work on his yard and garden.

He is survived by his wife Rose; daughter Debra and son Jim, Jr; his sisters Jeannie and Pearl; his grandchildren Amber, Andrew, Alan and Adam; and his great-grandchildren Dalton and Debbie.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Edith and Earl; his daughter Cheryl Dawn; his sister Marie and brother Paul; and his great grandson Aethan.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Polson Animal Shelter in Jims name.

Honorary Pallbearers were Andrew Westerman, Alan Westerman, Adam Westerman, Dalton Olson, John Blixt, Shawn Blixt, Tresten Lindquist, Wynn Lindquist.

Funeral Arrangements were handled by Shrider's Mortuary.

Robert A. Groom, Sr.
CHARLO - Robert A. Groom, Sr., 52, passed away at his home early Saturday, April 26, 2008.

Born in Polson on January 17, 1956 to Sheila (Hustad) and Baptiste Malatare. He was raised and educated in the Pablo area.

He married Sharon Farnham in 1975 and worked as an auto mechanic in the area and in Wyoming for a short time before he returned. He was a jack-of-all-trades and enjoyed hunting and fishing as well as getting firewood.

His father preceded him in death.

He is survived by his mother Sheila Peterson of Clinton; his wife Sharon of Charlo; children Bob, Paul and Jim Groom all of Charlo, Emmett Groom of Bozeman and Victoria (Ron) Meeker of Dubois, Indiana; 13 grandchildren and 2 brothers and 5 sisters.

In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place and a gathering will be held at the family home at later this year.

Violet A. Derflinger
Arlee - Violet A. Derflinger, 79, passed away Wednesday at St. Patrick's Hospital in Missoula.

Violet was born in Cedarville, California on Nov. 15, 1928 to Mary (Pence) and Paul Hager. Raised in California and Nevada, she married Paul Derflinger in Eureka, California and together they raised their family.

In 1987, she and Paul moved to Arlee where they retired. Violet excelled with crafts and loved to paint and play bingo. She was very family oriented and loved her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren very dearly.

She was preceded in death by her parents and a son John.

Violet is survived by her husband of 54 years Paul of Arlee; sons Mark of Arlee and Ernest (Cathy) of Arlee; four grandchildren Shane, Mark, Melissa and Amber and three great grandchildren Dallas, Aurora and Darrion.

Ralph Carlyle Ducharme
POLSON - Ralph Carlyle Ducharme, age 60, of Polson, passed away at his home from natural causes on Friday April 25, 2008 with his loving family at his side.

Ralph was born on January 4, 1948 at St. Ignatius, MT to Wilbur and Hazel Ducharme. Following his school years, Ralph joined the US Army and served his country. After his time in the service, Ralph moved to Polson.

Ralph married Helen Henry in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in 1971. Helen passed away in 1993.

Ralph worked for the Charkoosta News, St. Joseph Convalescent Center, Villegas Janitorial, and Super One Foods as a custodian. He was an active member of the Eagles #3913 in Polson.

Ralph enjoyed family gatherings and playing pool with family and friends. He was an avid bingo player and liked cooking and baking for everyone for any occasion.

His wife Helen Ducharme, parents Hazel and Wilbur Ducharme, and sister Debbie Butt preceded Ralph in death.

Ralph is survived by his sisters Victoria (Gus) Mandelas of Moses Lake, WA; Denise Banguis of Polson; Carrie Irvine of Pablo; Diane Ducharme of Polson; Lori (Kelly) Cunningham of Colorado Springs, CO; his brother Steve (Toni) Ducharme of Polson; and several nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, who were very dear to his heart.

Arrangements are under the direction of Grogan Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to the family at

Duane "Mike" Plouffe
ST. IGNATIUS - Duane "Mike" Plouffe, 41, passed away in Fort Lauderdale, FL, from injuries received in motorcycle accident.

A member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe, Mike was born in St. Ignatius on March 24, 1967, to Joanne Gingras and Dennis Plouffe; he was raised in the valley. As a young adult Mike joined the Navy and served in Desert Storm before returning to make his home in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

He then returned home to the Rez, where he owned and operated M&D Auto Repair and eventually he went to work for Mission Valley Power in Pablo. He most recently went to work HICO in Hollywood, FL.

He married Corrine Clairmont of Ronan and they later divorced. He then remarried to Lori Charette and they divorced.

Mike was into life and he lived it to the fullest.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents including his grandma Regina Plouffe, his uncle Norman Charette and a cousin Janet Pierce.

He is survived by his mother Joanne Schall and stepfather Rodney Schall of Dixon and Father Dennis Plouffe of Idaho; his sisters DeeDee Gingras of Charlo and Renee Plouffe of Idaho; uncles Wiliam Gingras, David Gingras, Dennis Mitchell, George A. Mitchell and Thomas Maynard Plouffe; aunts Teddi Charette and Chickee Pierce; and a special grandma Margaret York as well as many special cousins and large extended family.

Sharon Bird - Turczynski
EUGENE, Ore. - Beloved wife, mother, auntie, sister and mama to all. Sharon passed away peacefully on April 23, 2008 while residing in Eugene, Oregon surrounded by family and loved ones.

Sharon was born on July 26, 1952 in St. Ignatius to Charles and Rose Bird. Sharon married in 1982 to Dennis James Felsman and they had six beautiful children: Shirley, Sheri, Shelly, Sheila, Rhonda and one son named Willie, whom she thought the world of and spoke of frequently to all she met. Her children were her life.

Sharon attended Ursalines Catholic Boarding School in St. Ignatius from 1958 - 1962. She then continued her schooling in Ronan then went on to get her GED in 1972. She attended school in Pablo at Salish and Kootenai College from 1979 to 1985 where she was also employed full-time as well as a full time student. In 1998 she went to work for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in various departments such as Personnel/JTPA, then DHRD and shortly after that she moved back to Personnel. Sharon enjoyed traveling, fishing and bingo every now and then, but especially camping.

Sharon met and married in October 23, 2006 to the love of her life, Mark Joseph Turczynski, whom she loved unconditionally. He brought her happiness while filling her world with love and laughter and will always be a part of her family. This man has brought her so much love, he was her life and she could have never asked for a more special husband, friend and partner in life. She had so many plans for their future, but the lord had different plans for her. When she met and married Mark, she also met the most special mother-in-law and father-in-law, Fay and Ed Cox. They are very special people whom treated her with so much love.

Sharon is survived by her husband Mark Turczynski; daughters Shirley, Sheri, Shelly, Sheila, Rhonda; son Willie; her special in-laws Fay and Ed Cox (Mariah); sisters Darlene and MaryAnn; brother Charlie; her grandkids, Danika Felsman, Miranda Mahkuk, Kaetau and Matt Felsman, Zion and Neveah Ross, Tristan Felsman and Byron Colon and numerous nieces and nephews.

Preceding her in death were her mom Rose Bird-Chalwain; her dad Charles Robert Bird Sr.; her ex-husband Dennis James Felsman; her sisters Diane Muniz and Shirley Bird.

Sharon will be missed dearly by many for she was the sparkle in everyone's face. You will never be forgotten mom. Traditional wake services were held in St. Ignatius at the Longhouse and her ashes will be held in Eugene, Oregon until her husband's release in October.

Harriet Adams Whitworth
MISSOULA - Harriet Adams Whitworth, 89, joined her husband Fred and went peacefully into the arms of the Lord on April 22, 2008.

Mom, Grandma, Auntie and our Friend was a CS&KT Tribal member born April 28, 1918 in the mountains to Eneas Adams and Adele Kaltomee Adams. Harriet married Fred Whitworth Sr. on Valentines Day in 1941, they had 7 children, 20 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.

Harriet was raised traditionally and was fluent in the Salish Language and past her traditional values on to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She worked at the Jocko & Valley Creek C.C. (conservation corps) camps, Blue Bay Camp, Salish Culture Committee in St. Ignatius and taught at the Arlee School. Some of her joys when she was younger were fishing, hunting, drying meat, cooking, Christmas treeing, picking fruit in the Bitterroot, ranching with her husband and packing into the Bob Marshall. She and her family were also in the Wild West Show with Grey Scott and Ed Lane and traveled to California, Chicago, New York, Alaska and Washington DC. While in Washington DC with her husband they testified before a Senate Sub Committee regarding taxation on the reservation. More recently she experienced an Arizona winter.

Harriet was a proud member of the St. Ignatius Catholic Church and the Salish Elder Advisory Committee. She also received many life long awards: 2001 CS&KT Agricultural Producer Achievement Award; 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award; 2004 Flathead River Honoring Award; An Honorary Bachelors Degree from Salish Kootenai College.

She was preceded in death by her husband Fred, their daughter Annette, son Ray, a grandson Shawn, as well as her parents, her sisters Agnes Vanderburg, Adeline Fyant, and a brother Lome Adams. She is survived by her children Floyd (Denise) Nicolai, Lauraine (George) Johnson, Geri Moran, Nadine (Dennis) Clairmont, Fred (Vicki) Whitworth Jr.

Memorials may be made to the Kidney Foundation in honor of Harriet Whitworth.

Jack Dolson
HOT SPRINGS - Jack Dolson, 74 years old, died peacefully Saturday morning, April 12, 2008 at St. Joseph's Medical Center. His doctor and nurses complained of the "bad time" that he gave them: being the targets of Jack's good-natured teasing. You couldn't know Jack for long before you got a "bad time" of your very own. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was finally too much for his heart. That together with prostate cancer that had spread throughout his bones had fatigued Jack for these past couple years.

Jack was born at home, October 20, 1933, to Bert and Bertha Dolson on the family ranch near Hot Springs. Rosa Markle, his grandmother, helped deliver him. Jack attended school at Hot Springs until his junior year of high school when he moved to Kalispell to seek employment working on Hungry Horse Dam. He joined the United States Air Force in 1954 and served in such exotic locations as Florida and Japan as an airplane mechanic. He returned home while completing his years of reserve duty.

On July 8, 1957, he married Meredith McClary of Nairada. After a brief stay in Great Falls, and Portland, Oregon, the couple settled in Polson where Jack drove logging trucks for the Dupuis Lumber Company. In 1963, Jack and Meredith purchased the family ranch from his parents and they returned to Hot Springs to take up cattle ranching. Jack hired out to supplement the ranch activities as a mechanic. He worked for the local mechanic shops, first at the "Y" Chevron and then with Lewis Mountjoy.

In 1970, Jack built a mechanic shop at home on the ranch and continued to work on machinery and autos to supplement the ranch operations. Other times he would hire out to help the custom hay contractors throughout the valley, and always worked on their equipment. If you needed it fixed, Jack could get it done. Jack ranched and did mechanic work throughout his entire life with the help of his family. His latest purchase, two young red angus bulls, were delivered to the ranch the day he went into the hospital. Jack only saw pictures of them.

Jack was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He was always very interested in the activities of the tribes. If you got to know Jack, you know that he always looked to find humor in everything around him, but once in a while you did hear, "Oohhh bull****" from him. This was an expression he used on occasion when talking about certain topics, especially tribal topics.

Jack is survived by his wife, Meredith, at the family ranch south of Hot Springs; by his daughter Candy Franklin (Hot Springs) and her children, Amy (Don) DeTienne (Hot Springs), Michael Franklin (Hot Springs), Jacquie Franklin (Hamilton), and Amber Franklin (Pennsylvania); by his son Michael (Lisa) Dolson and their children Rosa and Jack (Camas Prairie); by his great-grand children, the DeTienne kids, Joseph, James, Alexandrea, Berton, Lilianna, and William. Jack is also survived by his sisters Carole Lane of Kalispell, Virginia Walker of Scotland, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents Bert and Bertha, his brothers Bert Norman (Pat) Dolson, William (Mickey) Dolson, and his sisters Ellen Aycock, and Mary Joan (Molly) Nelson.

Arrangements were entrusted to Sunset Hills Funeral Homes for Plains & Thompson Falls.

Marian Tyro Seines
PLAINS - Marian Tyro Seines, 94, died of natural causes on April 10, 2008. She was born in Plains in November 1914 to F. M. and Ida Lewellen.

She graduated from Plains High School, earning a scholarship to the University of Montana. She earned her bachelor's degree in music education from UM in 1936. She married Frank Tyro, a civil engineer, of Dillon. Being with the government service, they moved many times, but resided in St. Ignatius eight years before his death in 1952. Marian started a kindergarten in her St. Ignatius home.

On Oct. 22, 1953, she married Hilbert Seines and they moved to the Seines ranch in Round Butte the following spring.

She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Hilbert Seines; daughters, Denise Fyant (Floyd Nicolai); and Bonnie Tyro; son, Frank (Lori Lambert) Tyro; 11 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great grandchildren. Her parents, F.M. and Ida Lewellen, and her brother, Jack Lewellen of Plains preceded her in death.

Memorial services were held Monday, April 14, at the Mission Valley United Methodist Church on the top of Post Creek hill.

Memorials may be made to St. Luke's Extended Care, the Mission Valley United Methodist Church or the Round Butte Women's Club.